The University’s quality culture is the atmosphere of the University community supporting high-quality operations. The quality culture manifests itself in the high commitment of the staff and students to their work and studies. The staff and students collaborate in accordance with the values and objectives of the University and adhere to common policies. They also share good practices and engage in continuous evaluation.
Quality management is the fit-for-purpose conduct of operations. The practices adopted by the University are justified and well managed. Through quality management, we will know whether we are achieving the goals set for our work, and have the ability to correct our course when necessary. Quality management ensures that society can trust in the University and its operations.
The University's quality system is an integrated management system which helps us maintain and develop the quality of University operations. It is a collection of measures and methods used to ensure that we are progressing towards and achieving our goals. With the help of our quality management system, through the description and measurement of operations, we can observe when something is not working and react to development needs. The University’s quality system provides the necessary structures and defines the procedures and responsibilities for well-functioning quality management.
What does quality mean at the University of Helsinki? What is the quality of teaching and research and the public engagement based on them? The video describes the key quality concepts of the University as parts of the University’s and the University community’s every day life.
Quality policy means University guidelines for the goals, principles and distribution of responsibilities in high-quality operations:
Quality work supports the University of Helsinki in achieving its vision With the power of knowledge – for the world which is defined at the Strategic plan. Every member of the academic community shall contribute to the common goal of achieving the University’s objectives and shall be responsible for his or her performance and outcomes. The purpose of the University’s quality system is to aid the academic community and its members in developing a framework for quality management.
The quality system (see the picture in the beginning of the site) is an integrated management system which helps us maintain and develop the quality of University operations. It is a collection of measures and methods used to ensure that we are progressing towards and achieving our goals. With the help of our quality management system, through the description and measurement of operations, we can observe when something is not working and react to development needs.
The quality system provides the structures and defines the procedures and responsibilities of well-functioning quality management.
The integrated management system of the University of Helsinki consists of a quality system, a management system and a steering framework.
The purpose of the quality system is to:
The quality system rests on an appropriate organisational structure as well as good management and decision-making. Its foundation consists of the strategic plan as well as the University’s target programme together with the related target programmes and action plans of the units (faculties and independent institutes). The quality system supports the University’s strategic objectives and helps both the University and its units to achieve them.
The University of Helsinki's quality system is documented in
The description of the quality system explains how University operations are planned, implemented, evaluated and developed. See the picture at the top of the page.
The Flamma intranet and the Instructions for Students and Instructions for Teaching websites function as the University’s operations manual, providing all the necessary information on how operations are carried out at the University. The University no longer draws up an operations manual in the traditional format on the University or unit levels. The framework of guidelines and instructions for the University and unit levels is presented with the help of the PDCA (Plan - Do - Check - Act) cycle. The PDCA cycles of faculties and independent institutes feature on the unit-specific The University Guide to How It’s Done page on Flamma.
The Instructions for Students website offers general and degree programme-specific instructions and bulletins regarding your studies.
The site contains University-level and degree programme-specific instructions for teaching (e.g., the planning of teaching, thesis supervision and special arrangements).
The process descriptions of the University of Helsinki have been drawn up using QPR Enterprise Architect software, and they are stored on the Mallinnus server. To log in You need the University user identifier. Process descriptions are part of the work on the enterprise architecture of the University of Helsinki.
Process descriptions clarify management practices, help to identify process bottlenecks, relieve the process workload, facilitate comparisons with other units, harmonise operations and help to share good practices.
Instructions for the operations of the University of Helsinki are provided in various regulations, provisions and guidelines. All of these are part of the University's quality documentation.
The Board of the University of Helsinki bears ultimate responsibility for quality principles and policies. The University leadership is accountable for the overall quality of operations and results. The faculty deans and directors of independent institutes, as well as the directors of University Services sectors answer for the quality of the operations and results in their units. Every member of the academic community is responsible for the quality of their work and its results as well as their improvement in their role as
Quality management at the University is coordinated by the quality management steering group. The group is led by the vice-rector in charge of quality management, while the University’s head of quality management acts as the secretary. The head of quality management coordinates the implementation of quality management principles and procedures.
The responsibilities for the quality system correspond to those defined for the University’s management and integrate seamlessly into regular management procedures. For example, deans are responsible for their faculty’s quality system and heads of department for their department’s system. While heads of administration provide vital support for unit directors in quality management processes, faculty and degree programme steering groups play an important role in quality assurance.
The University has established a quality management steering group to supervise and coordinate its quality management and evaluation. The group is led by Vice-Rector Sari Lindblom. The mission of the steering group is to:
The group’s term ends on 31 December 2024.
According to the Universities Act, universities must evaluate their education, research and artistic activities as well as the effectiveness of these activities. Universities must also regularly participate in external evaluations of their activities and quality assurance systems. The results of these evaluations must be made public.
Evaluations usually include a self-evaluation conducted by the University community. Self-evaluation offers a good opportunity to assess activities and identify strengths and areas in need of development. Evaluation projects involve external experts who provide constructive feedback to serve as an impetus for examining the current state of affairs and boosting the quality of University operations. Audits do not address the objectives or results of operations as such, but rather evaluate the processes used to maintain and develop the quality of operations.
The objective of the audit is to ensure that the University has a quality system that supports the continuous development of its operations. The audit also ensures that the University operates in line with its objectives and that its operations are reliable both nationally and internationally. The audit does not judge the objectives or results of operations as such, but rather evaluates the processes used to manage and develop the quality of operations.
The international audit of the University’s quality system is carried out by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC). The audit report and the result of the audit will be published by the end of January 2022 on the FINEEC audit platform.
The University’s previous quality system audit was conducted in 2014–2015 as an international audit by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC). The University passed the audit on 27 February 2015 and received a quality label which is valid for six years, until 27 February 2021. Based on the audit and the audit team’s visit, the international audit team published an audit report on the evaluation of the University.
The research conducted at the University of Helsinki was assessed on 2018–2019. The aim of the assessment was to produce an overview of the quality and impact of the research conducted at the University, to assist in identifying future research opportunities and to support the renewal of research.
The aim is to carry out the evaluations in a way that puts minimum strain on the University’s basic operations, teaching and research. Upcoming evaluations in the 2020s:
Quality – Doing the right things at the right time in the right way to achieve top results
Quality policy – University guidelines for the goals, principles and distribution of responsibilities in high-quality operations
Quality system – How University operations are planned, implemented, evaluated and developed
Quality management – Tools that enable us to rely on the high quality of operations
Quality culture – Atmosphere of the University community supporting high-quality operations
Innovative organisational culture – Best ideas applied through agile experimentation
Good practices – Good ideas worth trying out
Research orientation – High-quality teaching is based on research
Student-centred approach – Together for the benefit of students
Continuous learning – Learning never stops
Enhancement-led evaluation – Enhancement and improvement
Self-assessment – How did we do?
Benchlearning – Together in the right direction